Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So, You're a Scientist?

People ask me about what it is I really do.  I don't think it's an insult as much as it is a misunderstanding of exactly how scientists work and what getting a Ph.D. is really all about.  It can be quite a challenge to explain, especially to grandma at Christmas.  To that end, I'd like to present some resources to hopefully help you in your quest for simple explanations.

1. The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. by Matt Might
(reproduced here under Creative Commons License)

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:
By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:
By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:
With a bachelor's degree, you gain a specialty:
A master's degree deepens that specialty:
Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:
Once you're at the boundary, you focus:
You push at the boundary for a few years:
Until one day, the boundary gives way:
And, that dent you've made is called a Ph.D.:
Of course, the world looks different to you now:
So, don't forget the bigger picture:

Keep pushing.

2. What you know vs. How much you know about it
Created by Jorge Cham of "Piled Higher and Deeper" Ph.D. Comics

3. Scientists drink a lot of coffee!!

But that's ok! There are lots of papers (102 at time of publication) listing the benefits of drinking coffee.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Race Report: Love Rox 10k

Date: February 16, 2013
Distance: 10k (6.21 miles)
Time: 1:24:20
Pace: 13:35 min/mile
Overall Place: 251/331

Before starting with the race report, I should say that this was a first-time race.  Not so well organized or well run.

Let me start off by saying that this course is MISERABLE! I know the race director has no control over the weather, which really made it worse, but even in the best of conditions it would not have been fun. The canal area is pretty narrow and there were way too many people coming through. Some bottle necks around the stairs.

I did pretty well for the first two miles. It started raining as I was heading back in and out to the Mayo Bridge. I kind of lost motivation there. My stomach started cramping, I was getting cold, and it's just not a nice place to run. Really struggled through the whole Manchester area. The porta potty at mile 4 was such a HUGE relief!! Of course, after that, I went up the hill to the Lee Bridge. Turned on to that bridge and got a face full of wind and icy snow. Absolutely miserable. My muscles felt like they were seizing and it was so hard to run. But, running was better than walking because of how cold I got while running. There was a little over a mile left after the bridge, but my hips and legs were so sore that it was tough to keep going. Walked up the hill on Byrd and tried to run down. Running down was tough because of how slippery the bricks were. Was so glad to get to the end!

After the race, I walked around, hung out with J's husband while waiting for her to finish. Once she did, we headed into the tent. Got Irish Coffee and stew to try to stay warm. Stood in front of the one heater to warm up. Once K finished, we walked to Cap Ale.

To sum up, everything about this race was the perfect storm of suck.